Radeon 7000 PCI / dual cards on the IntelliStation 285

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Shiunbird
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Radeon 7000 PCI / dual cards on the IntelliStation 285

Unread postby Shiunbird » Wed May 18, 2016 6:22 am

Hi guys!

I followed your suggestion and installed a Radeon 7000 PCI on the IntelliStation. I removed the GXT just to be sure everything would work ok. I booted straight to Linux, since I know troubleshooting would be easier there.

All I had to do was install a firmware package according to some instructions found on the Debian Wiki, and then modify xorg.conf to load the radeon driver instead of fbdev. Now I can go up to 1920x1200 on VGA easily.

Interesting thing: the Blender interface is much faster on fbdev (I know the Radeon 7000 is old), but dragging windows around doesn't use any CPU now.

Depending on what I do the X process goes to 100% CPU and never goes back, I'm still trying to figure out what's causing it exactly.

My next steps are to try the following:
- AIX: dual displays, framebuffer on the Radeon and normal IBM drivers on the GXT.
- Linux: dual displays, framebuffer on the GXT and the Radeon driver on the Radeon.

These are all low hanging fruits, and once I have more time again I will go back and try to add more things to AIX.

Shiunbird
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Re: Radeon 7000 PCI / dual cards on the IntelliStation 285

Unread postby Shiunbird » Wed May 18, 2016 3:27 pm

So... I broke my yaboot.conf trying to get 3D Acceleration to work (I was only getting 2D and that's why most things were sucking, but at least I could do 1920x1200).

I added the GXT135p back and kept the Radeon there. OpenFirmware didn't like it. I got a very odd error code on the HMC front panel, and after googling I found out it means "Firmware fault, upgrade firmware".

AIX doesn't like the Radeon. I'm not surprised... but as soon as it starts booting (just after the AIX summary screen before the OS loads), the screen goes blank and stays that way. The machine boots, though.

I will remove the Radeon, keep the GXT135p and then fix my yaboot by mounting my ext4 disk on AIX (I hope it's possible), then I'll restore everything back to working condition. Unfortunately now dual booting became a 10 minute proposition. =(

PS: X eating 100% CPU mystery solved. So, somehow both the Radeon and the CPU seem to work if I have the 2D Radeon driver and the software render doing GUI work. If I have 1920x1200, if there's too much happening on the screen, the "backlog" of things to be drawn keeps growing (like scrolling long lists of things) and X keeps eating 100% until it's all done.

I found out drawing a selection box on the desktop goes smoothly, until the selection box gets so large that the refresh rate goes choppy and CPU usage goes up. I'm not sure if it's something related to the texture memory and power-of-2 texture size limitation or something like that.

If I reduce the screen resolution to 1680x1050, unfinished screen update requests don't seem to accumulate and the everything is smooth all the time, without any CPU usage spikes. Drawing a selection box still gets choppy.

YouTube is usable, though.

With the GXT135p, I'm stuck with the framebuffer driver and 1280x1024, but GUI performance is at least constant. For Linux, the sweet spot seems to be 1680x1050 (unless I manage to properly sort out acceleration). But I'm not sure it's the effort is worthy, besides learning, since I have a perfectly functional Linux machine in my G5.


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